Stornoway, Lewis, 9 June 1883 - Roderick Mcleod

RODERICK M'LEOD, Crofter and Fisherman, Upper Bayble (69)—examined.

16418. The Chairman.
—You heard and understood what the former witness said ?

16419. Did you agree with what he said?
—Yes, so far as he spoke.

16420. If you have anything to add, will you do so ?—We do not, by taking advantage of this opportunity, express any dissatisfaction or any hostile spirit towards our proprietor, but we wish to tell the condition in which Sir James found us. There were twenty-four crofters in Upper Bayble, when he got possession of the estate. There are now one hundred and three, where there were originally only twenty-four, when Sir James came to the place.

16421. Are you talking of the same place as the last witness?
—Of the same place. There were twenty lots upon the other side of the river at that time in the place called Upper Bayble; now there are thirty-one. People are so hemmed in on every side, and other people thrown on the outland pasture to such an extent that they are now not able to keep any stock at all, or to have the means of any support for them. As far as the rent is concerned, we don't blame the proprietor, except in so far as he has taken the land from us. The old arable land was not in any way benefited by the new lots that were being cut out behind it ; that is, there was no opportunity of giving it any rest. The original crofters are getting poorer and poorer every day by means of assessments. But it was not Sir James who was to blame for that, but former factors of his. I myself own one of six boats that paid £120 during a period of twenty years, of which he was never aware. The proof of this is that when we came to the present factor about the matter this imposition ceased. We wish that the people would get relief by giving them land through the island, where there is plenty of land waste. I wish to say nothing further, except that we wish to claim the protection of the law of the land. We are entitled to the protection of the law when we don't break it, just as we feel that the law is just in punishing us when we do break it.

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